Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teaming with Fungi by Jeff Lowenfels

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Teaming with Fungi
by Jeff Lowenfels

ISBN-13: 9781604697292
Hardback: 172 pages
Publisher: Timber Press
Released: Jan. 11, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Teaming with Fungi is an important guide to mycorrhizae and the role they play in agriculture, horticulture, and hydroponics. Almost every plant in a garden forms a relationship with fungi, and many plants would not exist without their fungal partners. By better understanding the relationship, gardeners can take advantage of the benefits of fungi, which include an increased uptake in nutrients, resistance to drought, earlier fruiting, and more. Learn how the fungi interact with plants, how to grow their own, and how best to employ them in the home garden.

My Review:
Teaming with Fungi is about using beneficial fungi in crop agriculture, gardening, nurseries, forests, lawns, and hydroponics. The author described the benefits to using mycorrhizae when growing many types of plants and what practices can support or disrupt their growth.

He named specific fungi known to work well with certain plants and described how to best apply them to your plants. He even described how to collect and grow your own if you don't want to buy them, though it looked like a lot of work to me. He also included a technical section on the biology of beneficial fungi and a detailed explanation about how they interact with plants.

Last year, I tried to use mycorrhizae in my organic gardening but felt like I hadn't applied them correctly to some perennial plants. Reading this book did enlighten me as to what to do to get the most out of beneficial fungi, and I'll feel more confident using them in the future.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Eat Wheat by John Douillard

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Eat Wheat
by John Douillard

ISBN-13: 9781683500117
Hardback: 325 pages
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Released: Jan. 10, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Has gluten been found guilty without a fair trial? Eat Wheat presents the science on the other side of the gluten-free aisle. For example, ancient wheat has been shown to have twice the gluten content of modern wheat yet decreased inflammation two-fold and lowered cholesterol and blood sugar. So how could the more glutinous grain actually be healthier?

Dr. Douillard has seen more than 100,000 patients in his natural health practice, helping to improve their digestive systems and begin to eat wheat again. He explains how a breakdown in digestion has damaged the intestinal wall and leaked undigested foods and environmental toxins into the body’s lymphatic system, causing “grain brain” symptoms and food allergies. Although eliminating wheat and dairy from your diet may help your symptoms, it’s a temporary solution.

The book addresses the root cause: the inability to digest well and break down harmful pollutants and toxins that can lead to more serious health concerns. Backed by more than 600 scientific studies, Eat Wheat is a revolutionary guidebook to regaining your digestive strength and safely bringing wheat and dairy back into your diet.

It will also reveal the benefits of wheat and dairy; help you navigate around food toxins in modern wheat and dairy; detail how to flush congested lymphatics linked to food intolerance symptoms; teach you to follow natural digestive circadian cycles; help bring your blood sugar back into balance, and teach you proven exercise and detox techniques to reboot strong digestion and achieve optimal health and vitality.

My Review:
I've heard about gluten being linked to increased intestinal permeability in many people. Yet whole grains (including gluten-containing grains) are a part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. So who's right?

Eat Wheat looked briefly at the scientific studies that indicate benefit or harm from gluten or dairy. And it's clearly not as simple as "gluten is bad." The author explained the "leaky gut" link that gluten-free advocates are talking about but then pointed to a deeper, root cause of food sensitivities and digestive troubles--in the lymphatic system.

He explained how the lymphatic system works, why it might not be working well, and what you can do to heal your lymphatic system and leaky gut. He included some Ayurvedic principles, like eating more seasonally, but cited scientific studies to back up many of his recommendations. He sometimes recommend Indian foods and herbs, but you can find many of these in a good health food store. I felt like a person could more easily (and more cheaply) follow his healing program than some of the "heal your leaky gut" programs I've read about.

I felt that the author had many convincing arguments, and I intend to read through the book again. My brother's girlfriend has repeatedly done "elimination diets" and removed foods (including removing gluten) to the point that she can hardly eat anything. This book should help her heal so that she can tolerate many of those foods again. I'd also recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand leaky gut or the current gluten-free trend.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Oxygen Cure by William S. Maxfield

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The Oxygen Cure
by Dr. William S. Maxfield

ISBN-13: 9781630060510
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Humanix Books
Released: Jan. 3, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley & Amazon:
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment which enhances the body's natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. In the United States, the FDA currently recognizes hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for 14 conditions, including decompression sickness, embolism, crush injury, bone infection, burns, wound healing, severe anemia, and several others.

Now, in The Oxygen Cure, hyperbaric expert William S. Max eld, M.D., will convince you that HBOT is a vastly underused modality that deserves to take its place among frontline medical treatments. As a holistic treatment, HBOT targets the underlying disease or condition, not just the symptoms. The Oxygen Cure reveals how hundreds of studies on HBOT conducted around the world prove it works at the cellular level to help or heal many more conditions.

Full of hope-inspiring case histories and expert findings, The Oxygen Cure shows how HBOT not only benefits the sick and injured (including our wounded veterans), but may also reduce our country’s staggeringly high medical costs. HBOT often provides a safe alternative to drug therapy and dangerous invasive procedures.

Dr. Maxwell provides his recommendations for how HBOT can help treat conditions as varied as burn care, emphysema, arthritis, fibromyalgia, wound healing, stroke, congestive heart failure, autism, cancer, diabetes, and more. He offers strategies about exactly how HBOT should be administered and recommendations on where to seek the best treatments.

My Review:
The Oxygen Cure describes how hyperbaric oxygen therapy works, what it's used to treat in the USA, and additional conditions that it can be used for based on studies from around the world. The author looked at each type of injury or disease (like traumatic brain injury or burns) and described how HBOT has been successfully used. He included case studies describing the person's condition, their treatment, and the improvement seen when using HBOT.

While doctors could use this to become educated about how HBOT can be used, the main audience seemed to be the average person who is looking for help with some of these conditions. He described some clinics where they're informed about and willing to treat FDA approved and non-FDA approved problems, about what it'd cost, and even some ideas on how to potentially get your insurance to help pay for the treatments.

The author is trying to increase awareness so that more people can benefit from HBOT and hopefully prompt the FDA to recognize that HBOT can be safely and effectively used to treat many more conditions. It's very sad that our wounded veterans aren't getting more access to HBOT. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those interested in learning about HBOT and what it can do.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Breathe by Belisa Vranich

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by Belisa Vranich

ISBN-13: 9781250106421
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: Dec. 27, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Contemporary science confirms what generations of healers have observed through centuries of practice: Breath awareness can turn on the body’s natural abilities to prevent and cure illness. The mental and physical stresses of modern life, such as anxiety, frustration, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, high blood pressure, digestive woes, and immune dysfunction can all be addressed through conscious control of your breath. In addition, it can increase energy, accelerate healing, improve cognitive skills, and enhance mental balance.

Yet most of us stopped breathing in the anatomically “right” way, the way to take advantage of these benefits, when we were four or five years old. We now mostly breathe in a way that is anatomically incongruous and makes for more illness. Dr. Vranich shows readers how to turn back the tide of stress and illness, and improve the overall quality of their life through a daily breathing workout.

BREATHE is an easy-to-follow guide to breathing exercises that will increase energy, help lose weight, and make readers feel calmer and happier.

My Review:
Breathe explains a series of breathing exercises that will help people breathe correctly and more efficiently. The author explained why people start to breath in a "wrong" way and all of the benefits to re-learning how to do it correctly. I know I breathe too shallowly and was having some trouble with stress and insomnia, so I thought I'd give it a try.

She explained some simple exercises that help you to teach your body to breathe in the correct way. She provided several different exercises to teach the same thing so if one didn't make sense, another one would. There were diagrams to illustrate the exercises. You don't need any special equipment, and the daily exercises don't take long to do. She also provided some more advanced exercises to help you to develop your lungs for deeper breathing and even provided exercises to help improve serious athletes.

I found the exercise instructions easy to follow and have been doing the more basic exercises daily for two weeks now. The breathing exercises have helped me feel healthier and more relaxed, and my sleep has improved during this time. I also appreciated the information on how posture affects my ability to relax. Overall, I'd recommend this book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Scotland Yard's First Cases by Joan Lock

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Scotland Yard's First Cases
by Joan Lock

ISBN-13: 9780709091257
eBook: 192 pages
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Released: Dec. 13, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
When Scotland Yard’s first detective branch was set up in 1842 crime was very different from today.

The favoured murder weapon was the cut-throat razor; carrying a pocket watch was dangerous; the most significant clue at a murder scene could be the whereabouts of a candlestick or hat; large households (family, servants and lodgers) complicated many a case and servants sometimes murdered their masters.

Detectives had few aids and suffered many disadvantages. There was no way of telling whether blood (or hair) was human or animal. Fingerprinting was fifty years away, DNA profiling another hundred and photography was too new to help with identification. The detectives had no transport and were expected to walk the first three miles on any enquiry before catching an omnibus or cab and trying to recoup the fares. All reports had to be handwritten with a dip pen and ink and the only means of keeping contact with colleagues and disseminating information was by post, horseback or foot.

In spite of these handicaps and severe press criticism, the detectives achieved some significant successes. Joan Lock includes such classic cases as the First Railway Murder, as well as many fascinating, fresh reports, weaving in new developments like the electric telegraph against a background of authentic Victorian police procedure.

My Review:
Scotland Yard's First Cases looked at detective work done by London's police between 1836 and 1907. The focus was on the earlier years, and the 1870s through 1907 were more an overview than details of cases. The author described various cases--mostly murder cases, but also other types of cases dealt with by the detectives. The details of these cases come from case files, court reports, and newspaper articles from that time.

Through these cases, the author pointed out the difficulties that the recently formed police had, what events motivated the formation of a detective force, and the changes, challenges, and cases faced by that detective force. She also described the changes in technology that helped the detectives solve cases and get their man or woman.

I'd recommend this book to true crime fans, especially those interested in early detective work and the changes brought about by developing technologies.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition by T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II

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The China Study:
Revised and Expanded Edition
by T. Colin Campbell,
Thomas M. Campbell II

ISBN-13: 9781941631560
Paperback: 417 pages
Publisher: BenBella Books
Released: Dec. 27, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The science is clear. You can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes just by changing your diet.

More than thirty years ago, nutrition researcher T. Colin Campbell and his team at Cornell, in partnership with teams in China and England, embarked upon the China Study, the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease. What they found when combined with findings in Colin’s laboratory, opened their eyes to the dangers of a diet high in animal protein and the unparalleled health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Featuring brand new content, this heavily expanded edition of Colin and Tom’s groundbreaking book includes the latest undeniable evidence of the power of a plant-based diet, plus updated information about the changing medical system and how patients stand to benefit from a surging interest in plant-based nutrition.

My Review:
The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition is about the research that supports eating a whole food, plant-based diet. As in, plants that aren't refined or processed, and nutrition derived from food rather than supplements. I've heard references to the China Study before, so I was interested in getting more information about it. I was disappointed that only one chapter of this book actually focused on that study.

The main author talked about his career and the various studies that he's done. He recognized the limits of those studies (including the China study) but feels the probable animal-protein link to chronic disease is strong and deserves more study and air time. About a fourth of the book focused on the politics behind why we don't hear about this link very often.

The author also looked at links between diet and specific diseases: heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, kidney stones, blindness, cognitive dysfunction, and Alzheimer's disease. He talked about the correlations to diet found in the China study and about other studies that confirm those links. I've heard much of this information before in isolated parts, so it was nice to have his full argument laid out.

This book pulled together or confirmed some things other research-based health advisors have been saying. I found his information on vitamin D to be very helpful as I haven't heard it explained so clearly before. I already eat whole foods and minimal animal protein compared to an average American, so I'm already moving in the direction that he advocates. I'd recommend that people at least listen to his argument before going on a high animal protein fad diet.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tough As They Come by Travis Mills

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Tough As They Come
by Travis Mills,
Marcus Brotherton

ISBN-13: 9781101904787
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Convergent Books
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Thousands of soldiers die year to defend their country. United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills was sure that he would become another statistic when, during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was caught in an IED blast four days before his twenty-fifth birthday. Against the odds, he lived, but at a severe cost—Travis became one of only five soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to survive a quadruple amputation.

Suddenly forced to reconcile with the fact that he no longer had arms or legs, Travis was faced with a future drastically different from the one he had imagined for himself. He struggled through the painful and anxious days of rehabilitation so that he could regain the strength to live his life to the fullest. With enormous willpower and endurance, the unconditional love of his family, and a generous amount of faith, Travis shocked everyone with his remarkable recovery. Even without limbs, he still swims, dances with his wife, rides mountain bikes, and drives his daughter to school.

My Review:
Tough As They Come is a memoir. The first two-thirds of the book described Travis Mill's childhood and 3 deployments in Afghanistan. He describes daily life and some of the action he took part in. He doesn't "talk technical," so his story is easy to follow and to get a sense of what it's like.

The last third of the book talked about the IED blast and his recovery. From the book description, I'd expected most of the book to be about his recovery, but he's not the type of guy to dwell on the past. It's part of the reason he's doing so well. He's also always up for a challenge, has a positive attitude, and has the support of a loving family. He gave enough details that you can understand what he and his family went through and how they made it through. To give an idea of what Travis is like, here's a quote (from an ARC, so the final version might be different) from page 246:

"Hard times come to everybody. When hard times happen, we have a choice to make. We can become discouraged and bitter, or we can choose to never quit. When life gets hard, the key is just to keep pushing forward. Instead of saying, "It could be worse," the key is to say, "It's going to get better." Then work with all your might toward that goal."

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.